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Does Fernandinho deserve a new deal at Manchester City?

Tuesday 26th September 2017
If there is a lesson to be learnt from the recent transfer window, it is that the world's top clubs should avoid letting players enter into the final year of their contract to prevent a player from leaving for free the following season. The Fernandinho situation at Manchester City has now entered that stage.

The whole Alexis Sanchez transfer saga is a perfect example of top players' contracts being allowed to run down. With Arsene Wenger's reluctance to relieve the Chilean of his deal – added to his failure to convince him to sign a new deal – Arsenal could lose their star player on a free at the end of the season.

Manchester City need to be careful not to fall into the same trap as, according to a recent report, midfield sensation Fernandinho's future is still a mystery to him.

The 32-year-old's current contract expires at the end of this season, and while he was reportedly expected to be on a new deal by now, there has been no indication of a new contract being signed between the player and the club.

But does Fernandinho really deserve a contract extension?
It is undeniable that the Brazilian midfielder's career has been on the decline since he transferred from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, always seemingly being overshadowed by Yaya Toure. But things took a new turn after Pep Guardiola was appointed Man City manager. Fernandinho has since emerged as one of the club's best players.

Despite missing just six Premier League matches last season he wasn't truly afforded the opportunity to make sure his presence in midfield was truly valued - he was often played as a make-shift right-back or wing-back during Guardiola's experimental line-ups post-Christmas, rather than in his preferred holding midfield role.

Yet, the addition of Kyle Walker has further impaired the chances of this happening again, and Guardiola now seems to favor Fernandinho for a midfield role over Toure. The Brazilian has played every minute of Manchester City's opening five Premier League fixtures this season. He has been in outstanding form, acting as the engine room for City as they overcame almost every challenge to rise to the top of the Premier League table.

With Toure, what you see is what you get with his physical strength, while Fernandinho has proved to be more technical. So far this season, he has completed 342 passes with a pass accuracy of 82% - the kind of stats expected from a player playing a deep midfield role in a thriving side, but what stands out is the fact that 70% of these passes have been forwards. It shows Fernandinho's attacking intent as he looks for David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne in the midfield gaps. He has also refused to let his slight stature deter him from carrying out his defensive duties effectively, with the Brazilian coming out on top in 65% of his aerial duels.

While it is still unknown what transpired between Toure and Guardiola, Fernandinho is filling the gap effectively at the moment and is arguably producing his best form for the current Premier League table-toppers.

Reports earlier this year suggested that Fernandinho could be offered a new one-year contract extension – much like Toure's from the previous season – and judging by his performances, it's easy to see why.
Adebayo Temitope

Temitope, an ardent soccer fan. I may be based in Lagos but I watch as much European football as I can. I've been writing about football for several years, before I joined IRIAW you may have seen my work on The Football Weeks. I'm also a keen music fan


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